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What Are Airfield Obstruction Lights?

ATG airfield obstruction lights are specialty lights set up on runways and helipads at commercial airports as well as private airfields. These facilities are required by law to provide this equipment to illuminate objects that pilots may not see when taking off or landing planes at night. According to Federal Aviation Administration rules, obstruction lights need to be a certain height, wattage and distance apart. Due to concerns over rising energy costs and environmental impact, many airports are now adopting solar-powered obstruction lights as greener and more economical alternatives.

The Need for Obstruction Marking

The FAA sets standards for obstruction lighting installation, and airports that are not up to code risk fines or even temporary closure until the problems are corrected. Standards for this kind of airfield lighting are strict for safety reasons. Pilots need to be able to see all objects that come close to an aircraft’s path even on an overcast, moonless night. Failure to do otherwise could result in serious property damage, plane damage or even injury to those on board.

Obstruction lights are installed in self-contained towers spaced at uniform intervals. The number of these towers required normally depends on the total size of the airfield. Top quality lighting towers are built to withstand strong vibrations resulting from airplane take-offs and landings. Most obstruction lighting systems are now controlled by a sophisticated computerized emergency management system (EMS) that ensures continued operation even during an airport power failure.

Solar Obstruction and Emergency Lighting

Obstruction and emergency lighting systems of the past were constructed with halogen or sodium lights powered to the required watts the FAA requires. The main downside is that the expense of powering these lighting systems could be quite high, particularly for the largest commercial airports. Modern obstruction lighting systems rely on solar power instead of standard electricity.

Solar-powered LED airfield lighting is both cost-effective and durable. Each self-contained lighting unit can withstand extreme weather conditions and power surges. Available lighting systems with the FAA L-810 designation have been tested thoroughly to ensure they meet all regulations in addition to using green technology.

Airfield obstruction lights are essential safety measures for airport operations and air travel. Government regulatory agencies such as the FAA have established guidelines for this kind of lighting that all airfield operators need to follow, regardless of landing area size or the number of aircraft that take off and land on a daily basis. Solar power has made these lighting systems much more economical than in past decades.

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